According to the Los Angeles Times, Matt Araiza, the punter for the Buffalo Bills who became known as the “Punt God” in college football last season, has been charged with taking part in a gang rape of a 17-year-old female.
In October, the juvenile allegedly became intoxicated at a party and had sex with Araiza, an All-American at San Diego State, outside his off-campus home. Araiza then allegedly took the girl inside, where she was repeatedly raped by other men.
Two of Araiza’s Aztecs teammates, Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko, were supposedly among that group. Ewaliko is no longer mentioned on the San Diego State roster, but Leonard is.
Both a Title IX investigation at San Diego State and a criminal probe into the incident are reportedly ongoing. Although no one has been arrested in connection with the event, San Diego detectives reportedly turned over their investigation to the district attorney’s office in San Diego County, which will determine whether or not to file charges.
Kerry Armstrong, Araiza’s attorney, admitted to the Times that he hadn’t read the complaint, but yet denounced the rape charge as bogus and asserted that he could produce party guests who could refute the teen’s account of what happened. The other two players’ attorneys declined to comment.
Soon after the claims were made public, the Bills said in a statement that they had already looked into the situation and would make no more comments.
“A civil complaint regarding Matt from October 2021 was now made known to us.
We thoroughly investigated this situation because the complaint was so serious. We won’t have any further comments at this time because this is a civil lawsuit that is still pending.
Matt Araiza recently took over as the Bills’ primary punter
Araiza won the Ray Guy Award in 2021 for being the best punter in college football after averaging an NCAA-record 51.2 yards per punt. The charges represent a gloomy turn for what had up until now been a buzzy professional career for Araiza. The native of San Diego frequently made headlines for his field position-reversing punts, earning him the nickname “Punt God” in the process.
Araiza appeared to be in position to be selected first overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, but unexpectedly, Penn State’s Jordan Stout and Georgia’s Jake Camarda were chosen before him in the fourth round. In the sixth round, he finally heard his name called and was selected by the competitive Bills.
When Araiza unleashed an 82-yard punt during the preseason, his profile continued to soar.
What a leg! @matt_araiza just sent this punt 82 yards. 😱
📺: #INDvsBUF on @NFLNetwork (or check your local listings)
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/Dz9p0kOaUQ pic.twitter.com/bcYFXiHwbE
— NFL (@NFL) August 13, 2022
When the Bills cut veteran punter Matt Haack earlier this week, leaving the rookie as their lone punter on the roster, they made a formal commitment to Araiza as their main punter. Given the accusations the punter is currently facing, it will be interesting to see if they bring in another punter.
(The Article is taken from Los Angeles Times)
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